Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

  • <i>Tour for the Cure</i> promotional posters and the big pink bus

    Tour for the Cure promotional posters and the big pink bus

  • <i>Tour for the Cure</i> boarding passes

    Tour for the Cure boarding passes

  • Tour t-shirt listing all the bus stops.

    Tour t-shirt listing all the bus stops.

  • From left: <i>Tour for the Cure</i> website; Twitter feed; Facebook Page

    From left: Tour for the Cure website; Twitter feed; Facebook Page

  • Still from the campaign video

    Still from the campaign video

  • Still from the Mammogram Education video

    Still from the Mammogram Education video

Tour for the Cure


The rate of breast cancer among women in Atlantic Canada is higher than the rest of the country (1 in 8, versus 1 in 9, respectively). ). There is still no cure for breast cancer; however, early detection is a woman’s best defence against the disease. Regular mammograms can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, sometimes as small as an orange seed.

In 2007, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) retained NATIONAL/MT&L to develop a 3-year plan to realize the goal to have 85 per cent of all eligible women in Atlantic Canada regularly screened for breast cancer by 2010.  Before driving women to be screened, we first needed to build capacity and reduce wait times. Then we needed to change behaviours, overcoming women’s hesitation about screening. The overall campaign was therefore executed in two phases:

  • advocacy and capacity-building;
  • marketing and public education.

Creative Solution

In the first phase of the campaign, CBCF worked with provincial governments to inform and issue a call to action on breast cancer screening. Among the activities were one-on-one meetings with elected legislative representatives (MLAs and MHAs) caucus meetings, coffee parties at Legislatures, pre-budget submissions outlining the need, opinion-editorial submissions, and collaboration with the provincial screening programs in Atlantic Canada.

In the second phase, NATIONAL/MT&L worked with CBCF to put an unmistakable big pink bus called the Tour for the Cure on the road in the spring and summer of 2009 and 2010. This campaign was supported with an in-kind mass media budget valued at $670,000 from all major print, broadcast and electronic media. The big pink bus was outfitted with information women most needed to book their mammograms. On board were hands-on displays, a quiz, a video and information about the CBCF.  

The mass media campaign was designed to promote the public awareness campaign and to drive traffic to the bus. The public education part of the campaign was intended to drive eligible women into screening clinics throughout Atlantic Canada. CBCF supported the screening message through grassroots communications, social media, healthcare provider education and collaboration with governments at the provincial and municipal levels.

Impact & Results

In 2009-2010, the CBCF's Tour for the Cure drove more than 33,000 kilometres to make 321 stops. Representatives on board talked to more than 18,000 people about breast health and the importance of regular breast screening. More than 8.4 million media impressions were registered, in a region with a population of less than 2.3 million. Untold thousands also heard this message through other touch points.

Early reports suggest positive change is already underway. Capacity for screening has increased significantly across the region and three provinces now have organized screening programs in place. Since the Tour visited Nova Scotia in 2009, there has been a 10% increase in screening rates in that province (up to 68% from 58%).  The retention rate has also increased by 4% to 80%, well above the national average.

In Prince Edward Island, significant increases in screening have also been noticed. The increase in 2008 to 2009 was 1.4%. By the end of August, 2010, screening rates were up 16% over the previous full year. This increase is due to both the reorganization and increased capacity of the provincial screening program as well as the Tour.

In terms of media mentions, using Media Relations Rating Points, a reach of 3.4 million was calculated. This is equivalent to reaching population of Atlantic Canada 1.5 times.

Project Details

An extensive promotional campaign was developed to drive visitors to the bus: 

Lead Partner Initiatives: Lead Partners engaged their employees to coordinate events and activities to drive participation among employees and awareness among their customers.

Advertising: teaser video, print, radio, television, out of home, cinema advertising.

Media Relations: provincial launches; community outreach at stops, event calendar listings.

Collateral: posters, boarding passes, buttons, t-shirts, tent cards, cardboard bus cut-out.

Website: was developed to provide Tour-related information and included an interactive mapping tool, sharing options, screening information and a daily blog.

Social Media: a Facebook page and Twitter account were started in the second year to stay in touch with the online audience.

Stakeholder Outreach: worked with individuals, MLA/MHAs, survivors, advocacy groups, municipalities and others to spread the word about the bus through their network of contacts.